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Toyota Tundra vs. Tacoma (2019 Update)

Both the 2019 Toyota Tundra and the Tacoma have a great deal to offer anyone who is looking for a work or personal truck.  Each have similar characteristics so, at first glance, it may seem difficult to decide which one is more suited to your needs and lifestyle.

Truck trends through the years have taken the Tacoma, along with other makes, from being a light duty truck to something larger that caused the mid-size truck category to come into the marketplace.

These light duty trucks evolved by consumer demand into full size trucks.  The Tundra, on the other hand, makes no bones about its strength.  Since its debut in 1999, the Tundra has always been about its capacity to handle tough jobs while retaining a luxurious interior.

Both, even though they are the product of a Japanese manufacturer, feel decidedly American.


The larger interior space of the Tundra gives passengers greater legroom and headspace than the Tacoma.  This is particularly true in the extended cab models.

Seats are further apart for increased ease and movement.  The cabin configuration allows for seating for 5-6 people.  The Tacoma, though the cabin is smaller, is still configured to deliver on comfort.  Its seating capacity is 4-5 people.

The redesign on the Tacoma’s interior in 2016 and the refresh of the Tundra’s in 2019 have given each truck a more luxurious feel inside the cab.


The Tundra may be a workhorse but its mileage cannot compete with the Tacoma’s.  The Tundra gets 13-15 mpg in the city and 17-19 mpg on the highway.

The Tacoma’s smaller size and lighter weight allows it to get 17-20 mpg in the city and 20-24 mpg on the highway.  It comes with a 21.1 gal. gas tank.  The Tundra, on the other hand, has either a 26.4 gal or 38 gal. gas tank to let you make fewer trips to the pump while getting the job done.


The drivetrain will tell you a lot about a truck’s payload and towing capacity.  With enough horsepower or torque, the truck can handle more weight and tow better without cooling problems or over stressing.

In 2019, the Tundra is equipped with the V8 across all models.  This gives a towing capacity of 6,800 lbs. – 10,100 lbs. depending on the version.

In contrast, the Tacoma’s V6 delivers a max towing capacity of 6,400 lbs. regardless of the version.  So, while you have greater towing capacity with the Tundra, you’ll experience better gas mileage with the Tacoma.

If you are looking for a heavy work truck, Tundra is the best option.  If you are looking for something for your everyday commute and lighter duty work, Tacoma is the one for you.

As an example, many mechanics will use a Tacoma for their shops.  Their size, payload capacity and fuel economy make them attractive for use on the job around town.  In this context, the Tundra is often considered to be too large.

Also, the Tacoma’s smaller turning radius allows it to maneuver more easily in tighter spaces.

Both the Tacoma and the Tundra are excellent trucks.  While they have some similarities, when you consider how you will be using the truck on a daily basis, it becomes clearer which truck is more suited to your expectations.

Their starting costs are also similar with the Tacoma being several thousand dollars lower.  If you just want a truck but aren’t planning on towing heavy equipment or trailers, the Tacoma probably is better for you.  If you need a truck that works as hard as you do, Tundra is the answer.

Both deliver high expectations in their own way.

Previous 2016 Model Comparisons

Spring is finally here, and summer is right around the corner.  You know what that means, right? It’s time to get your hands dirty and get ready to go off-road because truck season is here.

To celebrate the snow melting and the flowers blossoming we bring you a matchup between two Toyota trucks that will be competing for the spot of best truck in the category this year. The 2016 Toyota Tundra and the 2016 Toyota Tacoma.

According to PickupTrucks.com, both of the Toyota trucks were among the best-selling models in the category in 2015, with the Tacoma ranking fifth and the Tundra ranking sixth. Even more impressive was the rise of the Tacoma in this past year, not only has the Toyota pickup attracted a few celebrities (Pamela Anderson and Christian Bale) to its growing crowd of loyalists, the Tacoma had an increase of nearly 16 percent in sales compared to 2014.

With that in mind, Toyota put a lot of effort in improving the traits Tacoma owners rave about their trucks rather than concentrating on adding too many new features.

The biggest difference between the 2015 and 2016 Tacoma is the engine. Instead of its predecessor’s 4.0 Liter engine, the 2016 Toyota Tacoma will have a smaller 3.5 Liter Regular Unleaded V-6 engine under the hood. While it is lighter, the Tacoma won’t lose too much in power and performance, with the new V-6 still making 278 horsepower and 265 net torque.  The Tacoma’s fuel economy is not too shabby either in the 2016 model, with and estimated consumption of 18 mpg driving in the city and 23 mpg on the highway.

toyota tacoma

The other engine option available for Tacoma buyers will be a more basic 2.7 Liter Regular Unleaded I-4 engine, which can make 159 horsepower and 180 net toque while consuming an estimated 19 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway.

Tundra drivers won’t see the same kind of economy when they get to the gas pump, but they will have plenty of power under the hood to make up for that cash.  The Tundra will have a monster of a 5.7 Liter Regular Unleaded V-8 engine roaring under the hood. Pushing for 381 horsepower and 401 net torque, the Tundra’s engine will give the competition a lot to think about. Hopefully, for Toyota, enough to make up for the fuel economy rating of 13 mpg in the city and 17 mpg on the highway.

The base model for the Tundra doesn’t fall too far from the tree. Powered by a 4.6 Liter Regular Unleaded V-8 engine, it can make 310 horsepower and 327 net torque while consuming and estimated 14 mpg in the city and 18 mpg on the highway.

Pricing trends for the two Toyota trucks also follow their performance specs, with the base two-wheel-drive 2016 Toyota Tacoma Access Cab I4 AT SR starting at $23,300 and the base 2016 Toyota Tundra Double Cab 4.6L V8 6-Speed AT SR starting at $32,190.

The most expensive models in each line are the Four-Wheel-Drive 2016 Toyota Tacoma Double Cab V6 AT Limited starting at $37,820 and the 2016 Toyota Tundra CrewMax 5.7L V8 6-Speed AT Platinum starting at $49,580.